5 WAYS YOU CAN HELP END HUMAN TRAFFICKING
by Melissa Little
As the fastest growing crime in the world, victimizing 20.9 – 45.8 million people globally, human trafficking can seem impossible to overcome. It’s an ugly giant that has been rapidly growing out of control and threatening to tear apart our families, and yet many people do not even realize it. I think it’s safe to say that for most of us, if an issue does not affect our personal life in some way, it’s downplayed or forgotten entirely in our minds. Sadly for the victims and their families, however, this seemingly insurmountable evil continues to wreak havoc on their lives. I’ll admit, I was ignorant to this topic just a few years ago. Even after reading about it, I didn’t acknowledge the need for myself to take immediate action. I told myself that I couldn’t possibly make a difference. Perhaps the reason many people choose not to join the fight against modern day slavery is for the same reason as I once had. Maybe you are like me and just want practical steps that will bring real results and yet you have no idea where to begin. Well, today I am writing to offer those reading and searching for hope, ways they can act to see real change. Below are five practical ways you can begin to impact our world and battle human trafficking right from your home and community!
1. Our most powerful, forgotten weapon, PRAYER.
Years ago I would have heard this first “practical” way and skipped right over it. Prayer was something done at the dinner table and when I really needed God to do something for me…like forgive me or to give me something. It wasn’t until prayer was all I had left that I began to see it’s impact on my life. Real power is released from my soul the more I choose to open up to God. The desires that try to control me no longer can when I turn to Him. The days that I don’t pray are the days that I experience the most failures. What God soon showed me is that prayer is an act of humility. It is an outward display of an inward surrender. Choosing to pray, even when we do not feel like it, displays our desire to allow God to do what we acknowledge only He can do. In this case, only God is powerful enough to free victims and bring justice to all those affected by modern day slavery. Therefore, we must FIRST turn to the One who is willing and able to do above and beyond all that we could ever hope for or imagine. We are not praying about human trafficking so that God will do what we want Him to do. We are praying so God will use us as a vessel to do His will. God’s will is always good and for good to prosper. The question is, are you ready and willing to join Him in this battle against evil?
2. Walk for Freedom
Another way to help is through education and awareness. One way to make people more aware of this daunting issue, that slavery still exists, is to join A21 and their walk for freedom campaign. This is an annual event that takes place in cities across the globe in an effort to bring awareness to the serious, yet hidden in plain sight, problem in our world today. You can join thousands of people on October 14, 2017 as we walk in a single file line, wearing similar attire, through our local cities to help bring this issues out of darkness and into the light. Joining together for a cause that brings God glory, unifies us. Together we can shine a light on this injustice and energize each other to join the battle of good vs evil.
“Millions of slaves. A $150 billion industry. 1% ever rescued. Those statistics are daunting—and they lose the human element. The heart of our organization is the one. The one woman, the one man, the one child trapped and exploited, unable to see another end to their story. But we see the one, and we fight for the one, and we sacrifice to restore the one… to give them freedom and independence and the chance at a better story” – www.a21.org
Are you too late to join A21 in October for their Walk for Freedom or are you looking for another way to take action? No problem. You still have time to join Dressember in their awareness and fundraising challenge in December! In 2009 Blythe Hill began challenging herself to wear a dress every day in December for the purpose of bringing awareness to the issue of human trafficking. Now, Dressember is an international movement that brings relief, restoration and resources to victims around the world. By joining Blythe and thousands of other women (and men who will wear ties) in this challenge and by raising money through your own fundraiser, you will be a part of a collaborative community that aims to strike down the human trafficking industry from every single angle. Find out more about why Blythe chose wearing dresses and how you can be a part of her mission by visiting the Dressember website. www.dressember.org/why-a-dress
4. BeLoved Baltimore
Home of the Ravens and the Orioles, Baltimore also continues to be home to a large number of human trafficking victims and traffickers. According to the article “Children of the Night, sex trafficking is Maryland’s dirty open secret”, written by Ron Cassie in March of 2017, Maryland ranked fourth among the top states per capita in trafficking cases last year. I’ve even recently heard Baltimore City referred to as a “port” for trafficking by local human trafficking advocates. As a person who grew up just one hour north of Baltimore City, this is disturbing to hear. But as I have seen and heard throughout my life, all it takes is one person who is willing to take a stand against injustice and evil itself in order to make a difference. That one person in Baltimore is Janelle Robinson with BeLoved Baltimore, the human trafficking ministry branch of CityBeat Baltimore. Her heart longs to see God shine light in the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland in Commercial Sexual Exploitation. Joining her team or donating to their cause is a practical way to make a real difference. This is where we get to roll up our sleeves, reach out to individuals and build relationships in order to offer the hope and light of Jesus to all those involved in the sex industry. You can help Janelle and the team of BeLoved Baltimore by praying, donating, and volunteering. Volunteer opportunities include Prayer Team, Awareness, Intervention, Response, and After Care. To find out more about how to specifically pray for this ministry, and to learn more about getting involved, please visit their website: www.citybeatbaltimore.org/beloved
5. Report It!
At the first Shine a Light seminar hosted by BeLoved Baltimore, Janelle Robinson shared with listeners the benefits of being a “nosy neighbor”. When there is activity in your neighborhood or community that seems odd or you see specific signs of possible trafficking, reporting it to the trafficking hotline or to the local police could help save lives. There are specific signs to look for in individuals and businesses. Being educated on individual trafficking and commercial sex exploitation is especially helpful in keeping a keen eye out for trafficking activity. To read more about signs to look for you can copy and paste each of these links provided into your search bar.
These are just 5 of the many different ways we can make an impact. By making the choice to take action you will become a part of the movement to end modern day slavery. Still not sure? Ask yourself, “what would I do if it were my child that was trafficked?” Or ask yourself,”What would I want others to do if it were me?”
“And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.” Jeremiah 29:7